Image

Book Review: Arcanum Unbound by Brandon Sanderson

November 22, 2016

Title: Arcanum Unbounded

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The World of Cosmere

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: Individually Rated Below

The Overview: Brandon Sanderson’s first story collection: novellas and short stories set in the Shardworlds, the worlds of Stormlight, Mistborn, Elantris, and more. Originally published on Tor.com and other websites, or published by the author, these wonderful tales convey the expanse of the Shardworlds and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect.

 The collection will include eight works in all. The first seven are:
“The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
“The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
“The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris)
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
“Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
“Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)

Arcanum Unbounded will also contain a currently untitled Stormlight Archive novella which will appear in this book for the first time anywhere!!!!! -Goodreads

The Review:

If you can’t tell by now, I am a HUGE Sanderson fan. To have all of these amazing short stories in one collecitno is awesome. This compilation includes everything from maps of the Cosmere to behind the scenes expansions for some of our favorite Sanderson works (ahem…Mistborn). In this review, I’ll briefly explain what I liked about each story [In ascending order by rating].


Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30 [No Rating]:

Okay, I’ll admit the blasphemy that I didn’t read this one. But I hear if you liked the introductions to each chapter of Mistborn Era 2, you’ll like this too.

It’s very reminiscent of the golden age of radio era in the 1930’s (not my thing) and I couldn’t get past the presentation long enough to appreciate the story.

The Eleventh Metal [2.5/5 stars]:

This is a prequel short story for the Mistborn Trilogy, Era 1. It gives a little glimpse into how Kelsier coped after escaping the Pits of Hathsin (don’t panic if you haven’t read the series – this happens before the first book). I enjoyed it alright even though it didn’t add anything new to the series. 

Moving on…

The Hope of Elantris: [3/5]

This felt like a deleted scene from Elantris, but has very little to do with the main story… it’s more of a tangent. I honestly don’t think it added much to my enjoyment of the world as a whole, but I did like it.

Interestingly enough, my favorite part of this segment was actually the author’s note at the end explaining how the story came about. It has to do with one of his fans… way cool. :-)

Edgedancer [3.5/5 stars]:

Edgedancer was a great short story, but it’s one I think I’ll need to go back and reread once I’ve finished my reread of Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. It has been so long since I read those two that some of the references in Edgedancer went over my head. THIS is a problem because if I have holes in my memory, I wont be ready for Oathbringer, due out in November 2017. So, I will reread all the things, then review this one again. All you need to know is, this short story might help curb your craving for Oathbringer and help fill in some gaps.

White Sand [4/5 stars]

I freaking loved this short story. What a cool culture! It presents a magic system which involves using moisture in your body to manipulate sand (a cost/reward system I found particularly clever). Its about a young man who wants to run the trails of skill, but doesn’t have enough tradional magic strength to do it “properly.” I liked it so much I immediately went out and bought the graphic novel. Honestly, even though I’d just read the short story, I was hoping for a detailed expansion of the exact same scenes in graphic novel form. Instead, it breezed past it too fast for my tastes. With that said, if you plan on reading the graphic novel at any point, I’d highly recommend this short story first. It’s a marvelous introduction to this world and these characters.

Sixth of Dusk [4/5 stars]:

Sanderson is known well for his epic world building (among other things), but he really outdid himself with Sixth of Dusk. It was an experience, to say the least. Inspired by Polynesian culture, it takes you to the ridiculously dangerous jungles of an isolated island. Everything from the beasts that prowl the island, to the most minute flora and fauna was fascinating. On top of that, the character had these cool, albeit disturbing, hallucinations/premonitions of the future that help him see (and survive) the dangers around him. Even though the plot lacked a little resolution, it’s still one of the coolest short stories I’ve ever read. We all should badger him for more things set in this world (as if he doesn’t have enough to work on).

The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor’s Soul [4.5/5 stars]:

I read this short story ages ago, but apparently never wrote a review for it. It’s a well-woven tale infused with Asian culture, includes a neat magic system centered around calligraphy, and provides truly unique character exploration.

It stands on a pedestal as one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read.

Mistborn: Secret History [4.5/5 stars]:

Mistborn: A Secret History is definitely my favorite new read from Arcana Unbounded (I’d already read Shadows for Silence and Emperor’s Soul). This short story provided tons of insight to the events that took place on the periphery of Mistborn, Era 1. Sanderson offers so many layers to his storytelling! Knowing all of this extra information about what really happened completely enhanced the main trilogy. Seriously, if you read nothing else from this collection, pick this one up. You’ll want to read it before picking up the 4th Wax and Wayne novel.

Shadows for Silence by Brandon Sanderson

Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell [5/5 stars]:

If you only read one novella from Brandon Sanderson, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell would be my top pick (by a smidgen – they’re all awesome. And really, why would you limit yourself to just one?). It’s just one more example why Sanderson is one of my favorite authors – his novellas are every bit as good as his full-length novels. I loved this one because it had the perfect mix of characterization, setting, story, pacing, action, and resolution. It felt like a snippet out of a fully developed novel, but was self-contained enough to stand complete on its own. Silence, the main character, really struck a chord with me – her decision-making during the most intense scenes of the story still have me reeling months later. I want to get into the nitty-gritty details and geek out about all of them, but I can’t discuss it to my satisfaction without spoilers. So just take my word for it – this is definitely worth reading! :-)


Overall, Arcanum Unbounded is a brilliant compilation that I deem essential for any fan of Sanderson’s Cosmere. One of my favorite elements was the introduction to the planet systems within this universe and elusions to how the shards affected each one. I love how I learned about the Cosmere from this collection and look forward to discovering even more in his future works.

by Niki Hawkes

Image

Coming Soon: Arcanum Unbound by Brandon Sanderson

November 22, 2016

Title: Arcanum Unbounded

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The World of Cosmere

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: November 22, 2016

The Overview: Brandon Sanderson’s first story collection: novellas and short stories set in the Shardworlds, the worlds of Stormlight, Mistborn, Elantris, and more. Originally published on Tor.com and other websites, or published by the author, these wonderful tales convey the expanse of the Shardworlds and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect.

 The collection will include eight works in all. The first seven are:
“The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
“The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
“The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris)
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
“Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
“Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)

Arcanum Unbounded will also contain a currently untitled Stormlight Archive novella which will appear in this book for the first time anywhere!!!!! -Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

I love Brandon Sanderson books so much that I’m almost as excited about this compilation as I would be for a new novel. First of all, the short stories that I’ve read from it (The Emperor’s Soul and Shadows for Silence) were amazing, so I am thrilled to have them in a beautiful hardbound copy to add to my shelves. Second of all, there are all NEW STORIES that I haven’t read yet that will hopefully help hold me over until the new Stormlight Archive book comes out next year. I’m definitely going to have to fudge my 1500 for 1 book-buying ban to pick up a copy of this one ASAP! :-)

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

Image

Series Review [So Far]: Mistborn 4-6 (Wax and Wayne) by Brandon Sanderson

The Wax and Wayne Series [So Far]
(Mistborn 4-6)
by Brandon Sanderson
4.75/5 stars

I’m a huge Sanderson fan, and these latest books in the Mistborn saga are just three more very compelling reasons why he’s one of my favorite authors.

If you aren’t familiar with the Mistborn series, here’s a little more about it: Sanderson originally meant to tell the story across three trilogies (a high fantasy, a contemporary, and a science fiction). The first set (Mistborn 1-3) was published between 2006 & 2008. Somewhere along the way, while working on a plethora of other projects, Sanderson got a wild hair and decided to add what I’m calling a “bonus” series – a set of four books that focus on the characters Wax and Wayne. This bonus series, set a few hundred years after the first Mistborn trilogy, is a fantasy/mystery hybrid set in an era resembling the 1920s. While these books are strong enough to stand on their own, readers would benefit from exploring the entire series in order of publication (starting with Mistborn: The Final Empire) to fully enjoy the rich history and nuances of character this saga has to offer.

This spoiler-free review will focus on the Wax and Wayne series (thus far) as follows:


The Alloy of Law:

I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was a great introduction to both the new era and characters within the Mistborn saga. The characters all caught my attention right away with their interesting backstories, but Sanderson really only scratched the surface of their depth in this first book. The mystery was also engaging, but it’s not until the next few books where you see how it ties in to the arc of the saga as a whole. Overall, The Alloy of Law was a light first read that’s entertaining and worth your time… but you ain’t seen nothing yet!

4/5 stars


Shadows of Self:

After finishing Shadows of Self, I was certain it would be my favorite of the series, it was that good (and yet IT GETS EVEN BETTER in the final book). It not only brought in a fresh mystery that clearly tied into the overall arc of the series, but also offered a glimpse into a few characters’ pasts. Strength of character is easily one of the trilogy’s best elements, and I particularly appreciated the chance to learn more about each person’s quirks and inner motives. This book is when I knew for certain that Wayne, the loyal sidekick of the story, was my favorite character because a) he’s hysterical and b) it was fun to see him in his element (incognito, doing very serious detective stuff… wink wink). Also, as hinted at earlier, there’s a point in this novel where things start to tie back to the original trilogy in a way that had all of my nostalgic meters beeping off the charts. But the tiebacks were subtle, which made them accessible to new readers of the saga. Overall, Shadows of Self was a very strong work filled with mystery, action, humor, and a few surprises that might just knock your socks off (I’m still looking for mine, they flew so far).

4.75/5 stars


Bands of Mourning:

I could barely put Bands of Mourning down. Every single last page was engaging and exciting, culminating towards an ending that had me stalking the author for news on the next one (which is on hold for a couple years while the author finishes up Oathbringer, the third book in the Stormlight Archive series, and incidentally the only series I’d be okay with postponing this one for – can you say amazing?!). What stood out to me about Bands of Mourning, aside from the obvious aforementioned character depth, world building, excellent action scenes, and spot-on pacing, was that it felt like Sanderson had an absolute blast while writing it. It maintained its serious base plotlines while at the same time managing to be positively hilarious. I laughed out loud for what felt like most of the book while still reveling at all the twists and turns. Sanderson gets yet another A++ for execution on this one, landing it not only as my favorite book of the series so far, but one of my favorite books of all time!

5/5 stars!


Overall, is this bonus Mistborn trilogy worth your time? Definitely. Fans of the series will enjoy the continuation and delight in the new characters while newcomers will (hopefully) be intrigued enough to go back and see where the saga started. I consider Sanderson a must-read for any fan of the fantasy genre, and this latest set of books are no exception!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes